A student walks by West Campus Green at SF State on Aug. 29. SF State announced that the field will be the site of a new on-campus residential community in 2024. (Juliana Yamada / Golden Gate Xpress) (Juliana Yamada)
A student walks by West Campus Green at SF State on Aug. 29. SF State announced that the field will be the site of a new on-campus residential community in 2024. (Juliana Yamada / Golden Gate Xpress)

Juliana Yamada

SF State dorm development met with criticism from upperclassmen who face housing insecurity

Upperclassmen struggle to find housing as SF State unveils freshmen exclusive residence hall

September 6, 2022

SF State announced its 2024 West Campus Green Project, a multi-purpose residential community for first-time freshmen, via Instagram on July 14. The on-campus residence will provide 750 beds for a one time all-inclusive housing fee. 

The new housing is a part of the university’s Future State Vision Plan. The plan aims to offer more affordable student housing and add over 9,000 beds to student housing to shed SF State’s commuter campus label.

Vice President of University Enterprises Jason Porth said the West Campus Green Project will include other upgrades that serve students. 

“The new project also includes a new home for Gator Health and a new dining commons,” Porth said. “So, there are components of this project that will benefit the entire campus. Most of the other campus housing is geared towards upper division students.” 

University Housing currently provides on-campus residency to more than 5,000 students in eight different residential communities. Only three out of the eight housing options are open to upperclassmen. SF State is home to almost 30,000 students. 

Fourth-year student Gabriella Martinez is one of many upperclassmen who have struggled to find on-campus housing. 

“Luckily, I was able to get housing but I was on the waitlist for about two months,” Martinez said. “It was frustrating to see the university post about new housing coming soon when they couldn’t even house their current students.” 

The Student Housing Office could not forecast student movement on the waitlist due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Waitlisted students are offered spaces on a cancellation basis mid-June through the end of October for the fall semester. 

Manzanita Square is the latest housing unit built in 2020 open to upper-division students. A bed in the residential facility costs students about $1,600, not including meal plans. Manzanita is made up of eight floors and has an occupancy of about 600. 

The lack of on-campus housing has forced students to fend for themselves during a housing crisis. The median rent in San Francisco for a one bedroom apartment is $3,554.  This does not include the additional off-campus living costs such as food, utilities and commuting. 

Shiloh Markowski, a sophomore, commented on SF State’s Instagram post voicing her concerns. 

“Why are we getting more freshmen housing when it’s mostly upperclassmen on the waitlist,” Markowski said. 

Although Markowski opposes the freshman housing project, she also said that she enjoyed her first year campus housing experience. 

“My experience last year with housing was great and I absolutely loved it,” Markowski said. “I am currently living on campus in UPS and this year is definitely a completely different living environment that I’m still trying to adjust to.”

Although University Park South is on-campus housing, it is described as a private living facility where students can experience an independent lifestyle.

“I feel really estranged from campus and like I’m missing out on what it’s like to live on campus and it definitely sucks living in such ‘independent’ housing as only a second year.”

Living on or near campus can be a crucial part of a student’s academic success. Students who live on-campus were able to take more units per semester and have a 58% higher four year graduation rate than those who live off campus.

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About the Contributors
Photo of Alexis Alexander
Alexis Alexander, Diversity Editor
Alexis Alexander (she/her) is the Diversity Editor for Golden Gate Xpress. She is a senior at SF State, majoring in journalism with a minor in race and resistance studies. She lives in San Francisco but grew up in Monrovia, California. Alexis enjoys writing about social and cultural issues. When she has a moment to herself she enjoys live music, matcha with oat milk and long walks in the city. After graduation she hopes to write or edit for a cultural news source or magazine like Rolling Stone.
Photo of Juliana Yamada
Juliana Yamada, Visuals Editor
Juliana Yamada (she/her) is a Japanese American photojournalist with a passion for storytelling through her photos of underrepresented communities, as well as life in San Francisco. Juliana loves that journalism can help others learn more about each other, and she hopes to further that through her photos. In her free time, you can find Juliana at the thrift store, trying new restaurants or taking care of her many houseplants.

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